If you don’t think there is a lot of volatility in rankings from season-to-season, one only has to look at first base this year to see how much things can change in a short period of time. Players that were highly ranked coming into the season, Eric Hosmer and Gaby Sanchez failed to crack the top 18 players in the first half of the year. Lance Berkman and Michael Morse each missed time due to injury and Albert Pujols looked like just another guy in the month of April
Here is a look at the top 18 first basemen for the first half of the 2012 fantasy baseball season.
1. Edwin Encarnacion - the numbers are pretty much spot on to his 2010 season, with some more stolen bases and a career high in batting average so far. His biggest improvement has come on the road where he has already 11 home runs after hitting just three in 2011 in 235 at bats.
2. Miguel Cabrera - another .320+ batting average and a ridiculous 71 RBI in 86 games so far. Has hit 13 of his 18 home runs at home this season.
3. Mark Trumbo - if you can hit, a team will find a place for you in the lineup. While the third base experiment did not go as planned, he has found a home in the outfield. He had a monster June with nine home runs and 27 RBI in 26 games.
4. Joey Votto - already has 35 doubles at the All-Star break with a .348 average and one more walk than strikeout, giving him a .471 on base percentage.
5. Prince Fielder - has had little trouble adjusting to American League pitching in his move to Detroit with 15 home runs and a .299 average the first half of the season.
6. Adam Dunn - his power came back with 25 long balls in 293 at bats, but 134 strikeouts gives little hope for his .208 batting average to improve without a ton of luck the second half of the season.
7. Albert Pujols - really, it is amazing he is ranked this high after hitting .217 in April without a home run or steal and just four RBI. Seems to have now settled in at the plate and should be ranked a couple of spots higher by the time the season ends.
8. Mark Teixeira - another season with a batting average in the .250 range and he has done little at home with only 14 RBI in 130 at bats and five home runs.
9. Michael Cuddyer – has not been aided by his new home at Coors Field with just a .243 average in 39 games. Has already stolen eight bases and is 19-for-21 on stolen base attempts over the last two seasons, giving him some extra value in the infield.
10. Paul Konerko – currently has a .300 batting average for the third season in a row and should get close to 30 home runs once again with 14 at the All-Star break.
11. Billy Butler - finally the power outbreak fantasy owners were looking for as some of those doubles from the last two seasons are now turning into home runs. Has crushed left-handed pitching this season to the tune of a .361 average.
12. Paul Goldschmidt – at one point in April it looked like he might be headed to Triple-A with a .193 average but then he hit .314 in May and .341 in June with seven home runs. The eight stolen bases have been a pleasant surprise.
13. Freddie Freeman - still struggles with southpaws, hitting just .210 against them and hit only one home runs in June as he dealt with eye issues.
14. Adam LaRoche – has been overlooked with the hype of Bryce Harper and the Nationals pitching staff, but when he is healthy, he is always good for around 25 home runs.
15. Allen Craig - it doesn’t look like 2011 was a fluke as he has put up similar numbers this season. For his major league career, he is batting .298 in 490 at bats with 28 home runs, 102 RBI and six steals. Pujols is now just a distant memory.
16. Chris Davis - few walks, a good amount of strikeouts, though he has cut down on his k rate and 14 home runs. Not bad for a late round / waiver wire pick.
17. Adrian Gonzalez - you could argue for him or Hosmer as the first base bust of the season so far, though I would go with Gonzalez based on where he was drafted. With James Loney type power (six home runs), he has been a disappointment so far in 2012.
18. Carlos Pena - a batting average hovering close to .200 and on pace for 25 home runs, just another typical Pena season.